Celery Root Puree with Black Olive Paste

Purea di Sedano di Verona con la Pasta di Olive Nere

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Easy

  • 6 to 8

    servings celery root puree

Appears in

There are few purees of anything that I like, because purees obliterate the textural values of food. There are some notable exceptions, one of them being the mashed potatoes, and another any partly or wholly pureed bean, such as the kind that I add to soups or the dried fava bean puree with broccoletti rapa in one of my previous books.

Celery root I had never liked in any form, let alone mashed, because it is usually so bland. Yet, during an exchange of gastronomic ideas I had once with a wine producer at the annual wine fair held in Verona, the description he proffered of this celery root puree with olive paste seemed worth acting upon. I have now made it several times for the family and included it occasionally when I had guests for dinner, and each time I taste it with surprise and pleasure in equal measure. It has to be the black olives, an example of the catalytic effect an ingredient can have on another, inducing it to release qualities one never suspected it possessed.

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Ingredients

  • pounds celery root
  • 2 tablespoons black olive paste
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt
  • Black pepper ground fresh

Method

  1. Trim away a slice from the root end of the celery root and cut off any rootlets and spindly protuberances. With a paring knife, peel the entire knob of the root. Wash in cold water and cut it into four parts.
  2. Put the root in a saucepan with enough water to cover amply, bring to a moderate boil, and cook until it feels very tender when prodded with a fork. Drain, put it back into the pan, and heat it for a few seconds to dry it somewhat.
  3. Put the cooked root in a food processor with the olive paste, the olive oil, salt, and generous grindings of black pepper. Chop to a creamy consistency. Serve as you would mashed potatoes.

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